George Morris demonstrates proper flatwork at the Gladstone Program. Photo by Aullmyn Photography
Antioch, IL – June 30, 2014 – The George H. Morris Gladstone Training Session at Annali-Brookwood Farm, organized by Diane Carney has come to a close but riders who participated in the session are more motivated than ever to take the next steps to get on a team USA list.
George Morris oversees the jump setting for the final track.
The six-day training session included daily riding sessions with Morris and afternoons packed with industry experts who shared their knowledge with the ten riders who were hand picked by Morris. The riders were Caitie Hope of Barrington, IL, Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, Stephen Foran from Lake Forest, IL, Hunter Holloway from Topeka, KS, Courtney Frederick of Longmont, CO, Ashley Stannard from Tuscon, AZ, Adrienne Dixon of Hillsborouogh, CA, KC Van Aarem of Wheaton, MD, Lindsey Lamb, Tulsa, OK and Caroline McLeese from Omaha, NE.
Olympian Anne Kursinski demonstrated proper flatwork.
Morris’ sessions emphasized basic dressage and straightness of the horse along with utilizing the power of the inside hind leg. Olympian Anne Kursinski gave a demonstration on correct flatwork on day 1 of the training session, giving riders an example to follow for their future training. The riders were put through gymnastic exercises all week and a no stirrups session to prepare for the final day, which the riders referred to as “The Grand Prix of Brookwood.” The difficult course asked questions of the horses and riders that they were given the skills for throughout the week. The goal was clean rounds, just what a Chef d’Equipe is looking for when choosing a team.
Dr. Mark Cassells, Morris and Diane Carney inspect horses during the FEI jog.
Besides Morris, the training session was filled with top-notch experts beginning with Carney, who has organized the Chicago George Morris clinic for over 25 years, competed with Morris as a young professional and has shown repeatedly and successfully in the International ring at Spruce Meadows as well as organized groups of riders to show there since 1989. Carney is about quality and correctness from the barn to the ring and her lifetime of professional connections certainly brought A-team players to the program.
Chef d'Equipe DiAnn Langer was an asset to the sessions.
Another bonus to the session was DiAnn Langer, the Developing Riders Chef d’Equipe. Her presence alone added to the credibility and seriousness of the program. Langer’s presentation on the “Process for Team Selection,” provided for a valuable question/answer session with the young riders. During her time there, Langer met with riders one on one to help them establish a road map for getting on a team list. She also presented “How to Do the FEI Jog,” which as simple as it may seem, had more than meets the eye for the riders.
“This is one of the best clinics I’ve been to,” said Langer. “I know Diane Carney is absolutely passionate about this sport and if she’s going to put on a clinic, it’s worth going to.”
Langer not only gave information but also received valuable information from the riders regarding The Young Riders Program and the process of the team applications. Attending the clinic allowed Langer to meet riders who are interested in competing for the United States and see their abilities first hand.
“George is absolutely right when he says we had discipline, we had a program, we had teams and we won. We are missing that program now. There is so much emphasis on competing week after week there is no training. We need less competing and more training,” added Langer.
Behind the scenes, Dr. Mark Cassells of Homestead Veterinary Clinic, St. Louis, MO was accessible to the riders and horses 24/7. Dr. Cassells not only made sure horses were healthy, sound and well cared for, but also spent hours at the end of the day with curious riders who asked questions and wanted to be hands on with Dr. Cassells. He showed them the app, Horseanatomy3D, and graciously went over each horse individually with the rider.
Dr. Cassells helped riders with their horse's vet care.
“They are just so eager for information,” said Dr. Cassells. “We talked about stem cell and injections and answered a lot of their questions.”
Laurie Pitts was the barn manager for the program. Pitts of Goochland, VA, was also the barn manager for the George H. Morris Horsemastership Program in Wellington this past winter. Parents, trainers and owners were prohibited from the barn area so riders could stay focused without distraction and problem solve on their own, having the ultimate responsibility for their horse. Pitts worked with riders to get them to understand they need a program for success in the barn as well as in the tack. Pitts mentioned horses that are treated well know it and feel like they are champions.
Laurie Pitts managed the barn area.
In addition to the core people making the clinic happen, the afternoon presentations provided in depth information with humor, rider participation and open question and answer periods. On day 1, Brenda Mueller from Phelps Media Group/Chicago Equestrian presented “How to Talk to the Media” with a mock press conference putting riders in the hot seat and teaching them how to handle it. The message of social media accountability was not only addressed on day 1, but on each day of the clinic as Mueller ch
ecked each rider’s Facebook accounts and ended the weeklong session with individual interviews for practice.
Dr. Beeman gave a detailed presentation on conformation.
Dr. G. Marvin Beeman of Littleton Equine Medical Center from Denver, CO gave an amazing presentation on days 2 and 3, which gave everyone in the room a lesson on “Conformation, Form and Function.” Dr. Beeman is the veterinarian behind the success of the Olympic horse Calypso and rider Melanie Smith Taylor. Dr. Beeman related the information to Morris’ riding sessions earlier in the day so riders could understand the topic better. He also used photos of Calypso to illustrate major points.
Dr. Beeman is also a horseman dedicated to horses and the industry like both Morris and Carney. It is evident in the way he speaks and the look in his eye that he has a love of the sport and a love for the horses. Dr. Beeman was a perfect fit for the program and inspiration to everyone in the room.
Bill Liggett and Morris discuss the footing.
Day 4 brought world-class farrier Bill Liggett from Woodstock, IL, to share his knowledge of shoeing and caulks. Liggett also used Morris’ information that was emphasized to the riders regarding the power of the inside hind leg and the importance of footing and traction.
Having the collection of top professionals at the session, only added to the perspective of the topic. Where else can find a learning environment with a former Chef d’Equipe present, the Developing Rider Chef d’Equipe, a veterinarian specializing in jumpers and an experienced professional trainer in addition to the farrier, to learn from? The entire group walked out to the field where the riders would be jumping, to assess the footing first hand and decide what caulks would be the best. Again, an open question and answer scenario provided riders the opportunity to get their specific concerns on the topic addressed.
Yvonne Ocrant presented the liabilty and insurance side of the business.
Day 5 brought equine legal expert Yvonne Ocrant, who also did the presentation for the Gladstone Program at Hamilton Farm. Riders were impressed with the information provided by Ocrant on the liability and insurance of their businesses or future businesses with particular interest in the discussion on how to set up syndicates.
Adrienne Dixon jumps the triple bar in the field during Saturday's final session.
The final day brought standing room only for auditors as the week long training was put to the test. A friendly competition between the two teams of riders added to the team spirit that seems to be missing from much of the team competitions in this point and time.
Caroline Mcleese jumps the liverpool on the final day.
In the wrap up interviews, riders were extremely grateful for being chosen to participate in the program and walked away with inspiration and knowledge to get them to the next level and closer to a spot on a US team. It was a general consensus that more programs like these need to be available to young riders seeking the education to be better riders and horseman and to understand the process to someday compete internationally for the United States.
Riders headed home to sign up for dressage lessons, fine tune their show schedules and stay connected with each other with a book of the month club to expand their knowledge. They left the Gladstone Program as better horseman, better riders and have an increased inspiration for the sport. Carney and Dr. Cassells stayed in touch with the riders making sure they arrived at their next location safely with horses in great shape.
The group of selected riders after shopping at Ann Hubbards Tack Shop.
Without the USET Foundation and Morris, the Gladstone Program would not be possible. Thank you also to DiAnn Langer for taking the time with young riders and for helping to set the course for them to follow for the benefit of our future teams. Special thanks goes to Rush and Caroline Weeden for the use of their beautiful facility and to Carney for providing the funding to make the session possible. Young riders across the country look forward to more sessions like these.
For more information on the Gladstone Program, contact Sara Ike at firstname.lastname@example.org.